How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

How can you quickly create a disaster recovery plan for your business? These 5 steps will get you started.

Creating A Small Business Disaster Recovery Plan

From storms, fires, cyber attacks, natural disasters, and man-made calamities like data breaches, DDoS attacks, and burglaries, there’s a lot that spells disaster for a small business. And while some businesses have a clear, well-defined disaster recovery plan for a worst-case scenario, as much as 68% don’t. The result of not having a plan can be catastrophic.

In 2019, data is everything and losing your customer or business data can bring your business to a standstill. A standstill many businesses never recover from. According to several sources, 93% of companies without Disaster Recovery who suffer a major data disaster are out of business within one year.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can plan for the worst-case scenario and what you should do to ensure you’re ready for anything in the event of a disaster.

Step 1 – Understand The Difference Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Before we dive into what makes a great disaster recovery plan, it’s important to get clear about our terminology. Mainly, there’s a key difference between a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan.

Business continuity refers to a strategy that makes sure that your business keeps operating no matter what. It ensures regardless of what happens, your business will continue to provide products and services to customers. It’s proactive, looking ahead to what happens and making a plan to keep mission-critical operations functioning.

Disaster recovery, on the other hand, is reactive. It ensures no matter what happens, your business will be able to recover critical data necessary to maintain operations. It ensures your data is backed up in a way that you’ll be able to recover the critical information you need.

Step 2 – Start The Disaster Recovery Planning Process

When you’re creating a disaster recovery plan for your business you need to account for every element of your tech ecosystem. Your systems, applications, and data should all be covered. That includes the physical security of your servers and data storage but also anticipating the loss of anything from your physical access to the system, to problems with your setup that would make access to it impossible.

The main issue here is making sure everyone accepts the possibility of the worst-case scenario happening. You need to convince your team that it’s worth planning for when disaster strikes, no matter how remote the possibility.

When it comes to making the plan, start with executive buy-in. Perform a top-to-bottom review of every IT system your business uses and account for every critical business function. Doing this well involves prioritizing cross-functional collaboration, which can only happen if you have executive buy-in.

From there, you need to conduct a thorough analysis of your business processes. You need to know your priorities in the worst-case scenario. What’s critical to your business, and what is most important to have access to if your capability is limited? Knowing your priorities will help you figure out how to protect your business.

Step 3 – Map Out Your Disaster Recovery Strategy

After you’ve analyzed a disaster’s potential impact and understand the threat a critical systems failure presents to your business, it’s time to figure what to do about it. That involves a balance of budget, resources, tools, and partners.

If you run a small business, the budget is an obvious concern. You need to find solutions that will make sense for your needs while also not breaking the bank.

Understanding how long it will take to get your business back online, as well as the cost, helps you know where to start. Even if you can’t get a particular system working right away, you can let customers know when you expect to get back to normal operating conditions.

Step 4 – Test Your Plan

The final step in any good disaster recovery plan is to do a trial run and see how quickly your team can respond. Conducting a test run can help you understand where you need to make improvements.

Practicing under stressful conditions also prepares your team for a real event. Employees get a chance to go through the motions and train what they’re doing as an automatic response. By the time an actual situation unfolds itself, they’ve practiced enough that everything will go smoothly.

Step 5 – Take These Quick Actions to Get Started Today

In this article, we’ve looked at how you can start putting together a disaster recovery plan that works for your business. In the next piece, we’ll discuss the key technology that makes resilience possible. Before you can do that, you need to know what systems are critical to your operations, how you can prioritize them, and what to do when the worst-case scenario happens.

  • Get executive buy-in to create a disaster recovery plan.
  • Perform a thorough review of business-critical systems to understand how they could be impacted.
  • Prioritize what you need to get up and running first.
  • Test your plan before you find yourself in a real-life situation.
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